macro/ground level camera support

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Any suggestions/ideas for a tripod for macro work. I have a good Induro tripod with a Sirui ball head. Problem is the center post and getting down to the level of smaller flowers and such. I've looked at solutions involving an inverted center post but all of those are sort of Rube-Goldberg mechanical complexities to my eye.

Any and all suggestions welcomed.
 

Butlerkid

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Lay the tripod on the ground, with 2 legs separated for stability. Rotate the ball head for re-positioning the ball head... (I'm assuming the head has a slot so that you can re-position the ball head). Then mount the camera on the head in the normal position.
 
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Lay the tripod on the ground, with 2 legs separated for stability. Rotate the ball head for re-positioning the ball head... (I'm assuming the head has a slot so that you can re-position the ball head). Then mount the camera on the head in the normal position.
Trying to picture this. Tripod on its side and the ballhead rotated into the "portrait orientation" slot? This would accomplish a stable platform but seems kinda' clumsy and limited. I have a "bean bag" with an integral bolt/screw that can be inserted into the threaded hole in the bottom of the camera body. This accomplishes much the same thing. What I am looking for is the flexibility of a tripod with the ability to get down to ground level (or at least near ground level).
 

Butlerkid

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Trying to picture this. Tripod on its side and the ballhead rotated into the "portrait orientation" slot? This would accomplish a stable platform but seems kinda' clumsy and limited. I have a "bean bag" with an integral bolt/screw that can be inserted into the threaded hole in the bottom of the camera body. This accomplishes much the same thing. What I am looking for is the flexibility of a tripod with the ability to get down to ground level (or at least near ground level).
My tripod has a center column and I do this all the time for macro. You get to ground level without buying or carrying anything else. I have a RRS BH55......don't know about your ball head. Not clumsy at all....give it a try.
 
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Is the center column on your tripod removable? If so simply remove it and then
put it back in from the bottom up. Your camera will hang upside down but it's
not a problem to rotate the image 180 degrees later. Just be sure to put your
hand under the camera when loosening the column clamp so it doesn't crash
to the ground.

This method works a charm with my Manfrotto. I also have an old SLIK travel
tripod that works very well for this as well and folds down very small to strap
to a camera bag. You can get similar tripods as this very cheap. They are not
so stable used the regular way but very stable when the camera hangs down.

Here's a few old pic's of the SLIK:

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A few options:

This is meant as a video tripod but you can put a ball head on it. HH75AV Video Hi-Hat with 75mm Bowl. They are very sturdily built and the legs can be spread out almost flat to the ground.

A tripod with a center post that can be used horizontally or at other non-vertical angles like the Benro TGP27C Series 2 GoPlus Classic Carbon Fibre Tripod. There's also a 4 section model that's smaller when folded. The legs fold out almost flat to the ground. Gitzo's equivalent is the GT2541EX at ~twice the price. I have a Benro that I've been using for field close-up work for about 7 years. It's held up so far.

Larry
 
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Joined
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Location
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Is the center column on your tripod removable? If so simply remove it and then
put it back in from the bottom up. Your camera will hang upside down but it's
not a problem to rotate the image 180 degrees later. Just be sure to put your
hand under the camera when loosening the column clamp so it doesn't crash
to the ground.

This method works a charm with my Manfrotto. I also have an old SLIK travel
tripod that works very well for this as well and folds down very small to strap
to a camera bag. You can get similar tripods as this very cheap. They are not
so stable used the regular way but very stable when the camera hangs down.

Here's a few old pic's of the SLIK:

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Both my old and current tripods have removable center posts. I found using this method awkward. I have a hard enough time keeping it together when things are right-side-up.
 
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A couple of options:

This is meant as a video tripod but you can put a ball head on it. HH75AV Video Hi-Hat with 75mm Bowl. They are very sturdily built and the legs can be spread out almost flat to the ground.

A tripod with a center post that can be used horizontally or at other non-vertical angles like the Benro TGP27C Series 2 GoPlus Classic Carbon Fibre Tripod. There's also a 4 section model that's smaller when folded. The legs fold out almost flat to the ground. Gitzo's equivalent is the GT2541EX at ~twice the price. I have a Benro that I've been using for field close-up work for about 7 years. It's held up so far.

Larry
That Benro Hi Hat looks interesting.
 
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Location
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Is the center column on your tripod removable? If so simply remove it and then
put it back in from the bottom up. Your camera will hang upside down but it's
not a problem to rotate the image 180 degrees later. Just be sure to put your
hand under the camera when loosening the column clamp so it doesn't crash
to the ground.

This method works a charm with my Manfrotto. I also have an old SLIK travel
tripod that works very well for this as well and folds down very small to strap
to a camera bag. You can get similar tripods as this very cheap. They are not
so stable used the regular way but very stable when the camera hangs down.

Here's a few old pic's of the SLIK:

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
I can't imagine even trying to use something that awkward with live critters in the field.

Larry
 
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Another thought.

Some manufacturers offer a short post for their tripods. You might want to check if there's one available for yours.

Larry
 
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Sorry, works OK for me but I'll know better next time to just keep
my mouth shut... ;)
:)
I'm sure it will work in a pinch for the odd static subject but for many shots in a day, I can't see it. I can't
see how you wouldn't disturb an insect or a snake or frog trying to set this up over it.

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Hi Doug. I have the Manfrotto 055 X Pro D Carbon Fiber tripod for along time now and I like it allot. Manfrotto have a newer version of mine now that makes it even more simple to put the center column in the horizontal position for reily low to the ground photography work. I found this link that explanes how it works. I hope you find this of use to you in your search for a sturdy low level and easy to use tripod. The ballhead is also very nice to use. The one I have is for my larger tripod the Manfrotto 057 CF. So as you can see I like the quality of Manfrotto products.

 
Last edited:
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You're getting lots of good suggestions, but I'll throw in one more. I really like my little Gitzo 0531 with a RRS BH-25 head. The center column can be removed, but I never found that to work very well. Just last year I discovered Gitzo offers a ground-level kit which facilitates removing the center column, but also includes a short replacement column. That short column extends only four inches below the head, which allows me to get very close to the ground.

Best of all, the whole rig weighs only two pounds...great for hikes.

Supports my D750 with 70-180 micro quite well.
 
Joined
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Location
Colorado Springs, Colorado
You're getting lots of good suggestions, but I'll throw in one more. I really like my little Gitzo 0531 with a RRS BH-25 head. The center column can be removed, but I never found that to work very well. Just last year I discovered Gitzo offers a ground-level kit which facilitates removing the center column, but also includes a short replacement column. That short column extends only four inches below the head, which allows me to get very close to the ground.

Best of all, the whole rig weighs only two pounds...great for hikes.

Supports my D750 with 70-180 micro quite well.
My primary tripod is an Induro CX214. It is carbon fiber and quite sturdy. I have a large Sirui ball head. Just looked at the Induro site and they now offer a short center column. I might try that.
Hi Doug. I have the Manfrotto 055 X Pro D Carbon Fiber tripod for along time now and I like it allot. Manfrotto have a newer version of mine now that makes it even more simple to put the center column in the horizontal position for reily low to the ground photography work. I found this link that explanes how it works. I hope you find this of use to you in your search for a sturdy low level and easy to use tripod. The ballhead is also very nice to use. The one I have is for my larger tripod the Manfrotto 057 CF. So as you can see I like the quality of Manfrotto products.

Thanks Mike.
 

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